Before I begin, there’s a small fact about this game which I feel is worth mentioning.
You get to smack around Wookies and Jawas but you don’t get to smack around Ewoks or Gungans.
I don’t know about you, but I think that George Lucas could have gone a long way to making up for Episodes I to III by including a few Gungans, who resemble Jar Jar Binks, for us to smack around at our leisure.
The Force Unleashed is LucasArts’ first internally developed title for next-generation consoles and it’s also the first in-game collaboration between LucasArts and Industrial Light & Magic so it’s something of a landmark in the history of cinema as well as videogames. Now, let’s cut to the chase.
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed is a bit of a tease as it gives with one hand yet takes away with the other.
The voice acting is of a pretty high standard but the lazy lip-syncing manages to detract from this.
The graphics for the most part are stunning, especially in the cut-scenes which manage to convey a lot of emotion, but since some of the levels are quite dark this results in some of the finer details going unnoticed.
The game offers three main Force powers but most players will come to realize that Force Lightning is the most effective in battle since Push becomes a burden as it takes too long to charge and Grip also loses its appeal as the game progresses. This will become clear as you play the game, when you first take control of your character you’ll be happy to throw around a few lowly Stormtroopers but, as the game progresses, you’ll soon be throwing lightning around in a manner which would put Thor to shame.
Battles tend to go one of two ways. Picture the scene: a room filled to the brim with enemies, which would normally pose a bit of a problem, but you know that you’re buff so you rush in anyway, and:
A) a bit of lightning here, a bit of lightning there, and you light up the room like a miniature version of Vegas, on acid. Job done. This describes one of the many enjoyable moments in the game.
B) you smash a few enemies, you appear to be more than holding your own, especially against the larger enemies, when all of a sudden some little non entity manages to shoot you and you fall and slide across the ground. As you try and get back on your feet some enemies start shooting you over and over again which effectively pins you in that spot until you’re dead. This describes one of the many frustrating moments in the game.
When the enjoyable and frustrating elements come in equal measures it makes it difficult to determine how you feel about the game and this will no doubt lead to mixed reactions with most people opting for a “pretty good, but not great” assessment.
For a game to work effectively it must have a well balanced system of effort and reward. Star Wars: The Force Unleashed has substantial rewards, especially for fans of the films, but this is pegged back once you take into account that, at certain points in the game, a high frustration threshold is required to get the most out of the experience.
I found the final battle to be incredibly frustrating, especially when you consider that the battle just before it had me inventing new swear words just so I had more things to shout at my TV screen, and this went some way to negating many of the more enjoyable moments in the game. I’ll try and describe the final battle to you without giving too much away: you’re trapped in a room the size of a shoe-box with Chuck Norris, who has acquired Harry Potter’s magical abilities and is off his tits on PCP, and he beats you up, a LOT.
Once the battle is over and the dust has settled we are treated to an end sequence which is actually really good and managed to grab hold of the Star Wars fan inside me which had been hiding from sheer frustration. In a rare stroke of genius, the end sequence, as well as other moments littered throughout the game, had me remembering how I feel about Episodes IV to VI and not…those other ones.
In an attempt to describe the mixed emotions I have for this game, when the end credits rolled and that theme music started playing, despite my frustration throughout the game, I felt like pumping my fist into the air and shouting “Star Wars rocks!!”.
This game features characters from Star Wars new and old and seeing them made me feel all fuzzy inside, a certain member of royalty is looking really nice and the best thing about Phantom Menace even manages to make an appearance, in case you’re wondering…he is red and spiky.
If you are a Star Wars fan you should enjoy the sense of nostalgia which this game provides and I would go as far as to say that if you own Episodes I to VI then you should add this to your collection as it does bridge the gap between III and IV pretty well.
If you are looking for the best Star Wars game since Knights of the Old Republic, or if you’re not particularly a Star Wars fan but want an action game with multiple enemies outside of Ninja Gaiden or Devil May Cry, then look no further than The Force Unleashed.
7/10 (8/10 if you’re a huge Star Wars fan)http://www.teamteabag.com/2008/09/15/2553/#more-2553